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Thanksgiving travel numbers nearly back to pre-pandemic levels

A Turkey that has been eaten is in the center of a table surrounded by main dishes like mushrooms and cranberry sauce.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
A Thanksgiving dinner, with sides and a turkey entrée is eaten on the holiday.

AAA is expecting 55 million people to hit the roads for Thanksgiving as more Americans are traveling for the holiday. The prediction from the motor club is less than before pandemic but is up about 1.5% from last year.

AAA's Valerie Puma said the growing number shows people are becoming more comfortable with gatherings after years of being told to stay apart.

"We're at about 98%, so you can see that people really missed their families during the pandemic," Puma said. "It's been enough time. A lot of people are feeling safer, they're able to travel a little bit more, so this is going to be one of the first years that we're almost back to normal with people being able to travel and see their families."

AAA senior travel consultant Geraldine Van Alstine said many people are heading south.

"A lot of people do go to Florida for just like a vacation because they have the extra time, but a lot for the Thanksgiving holiday, it's just going to visit the family," Van Alstine said.

AAA suggests road travelers keep a well-stocked kit in their car that includes jumper cables and a flashlight with extra batteries. But Van Alstine said air travelers should consider bringing only the bare essentials.

"If you're flying, I would recommend trying to pack as light as possible, bring it in a carry-on bag so that if there are flight delays or cancellations, you can easily move from one flight to another," Van Alstine said.

AAA said the busiest travel time would be Wednesday from the late morning to the evening.

Jeremy Striano is a graduate student studying Broadcast and Digital Journalism at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School Of Public Communications, expected to graduate in May of 2023. As a Multimedia Reporter. Jeremy enjoys listening to show tunes and watching broadway musicals as well as trying different kinds of beers. You can follow him on Twitter @JPStriano98